Not sure which paths to start looking at first? Below are a variety of different (fairly general) paths, along with a list of qualities or interests. If several things in a list seem to fit you, it might be worth checking that path out in more detail.
Please note: these are very general, and some things may apply to you, while others won’t. Likewise, some things will apply to specific groups in a path, and some won’t. There will probably be additions as I think of them, but you’re welcome to contact me (link in the menu) and share some others if you like.
They’re ordered in the way that flowed best: placement in the list doesn’t depend on what I think about the path, or which ones are ‘better’. They all have their good points.
You might take a look at reconstructionist paths if:
- You feel a strong draw to a particular pre-Christian culture.
- You feel a strong draw to a particular pantheon of deities
- You want to explore the religion of your own ancestors or cultures. [see note 1]
- You are interested in diving deeper into a particular culture’s practices and values.
- You’re comfortable learning in a variety of formats: there are reconstructionist groups that meet in person in some places, but many also have an online presence.
Note 1: The vast majority of groups welcome people from other cultures and backgrounds. That said, some people come to reconstructionism because of a desire to explore their own family’s culture or history.
Reconstructionist paths include Asatru, Celtic, Hellenic (Greek) reconstructionism, Roman reconstructionism, Kemetic (Egyptian) reconstructionism, and many more.
You might take a look at religious witchcraft paths if:
(see the added list for initiatory paths, just below.)
- You want a religious path that directly includes magical work on a regular basis.
- You are comfortable wading through lots of options and opinions to figure out what you need and works for you. (Some of which may disagree with what you choose.) [note 2]
- You are interested in celebrating natural cycles and seasons.
- You are interested in building a direct relationship with one or more deities.
- You are otherwise interested in or intrigued by the general practices outlined on much of this website.
Note 2: Due to wide use of the term Wicca for a wide range of (sometimes loosely) related practices, it can be especially confusing to work through material about Wicca at first. Patience helps. (As does finding a good place you can ask general questions.)
You might take a look at initiatory religious witchcraft if:
- The idea of having consistent practices and methods of working appeals to you.
- You’re comfortable giving up some amount of freedom and flexibility in exchange for learning and using tested methods and practices that get reliable results.
- You are okay with the idea it might take time to find a teacher, group, or learning situation that works for everyone involved.
- You feel a very strong call to a particular path, and are willing to do what it takes to figure out how to make training and work in that path work for you and your other commitments.
- You are interested in working with others in some form – whether with a teacher, or with a group, with all that involves.
You might take a look at panentheism/non-deistic Paganism if:
- You see the sacred as present within all of the world around us, rather than as coming from (or resonating with) particular deities or other beings.
- You have a strong interest in the natural world, its cycles, and its seasons.
- You are willing to make your way through sorting out materials into practices that might work for you – and ones that make no sense to you, because they involve deities.
You might take a look at magical but not religious paths if:
- The practices of spellcraft, ritual magic, or other related options are of interest, but you are not at all interested in working with deities.
- You have an interest in a particular practice or approach (for example, kitchen witchery) but want to do it outside the context of religious or spiritual practice.
[last edited January 14, 2011]